Ephesians 1:1 - Part 2 - Sainthood
From January 10th 2021 - Who are Saints? Are they only the super holy people held higher than us normal Christians?
Greeting ------ Sunday January 10th
We have just a few announcements before letting the kids get at it
At the end of the Sermon today, just like last week, and like all the Sundays to follow, ill be leading us in singing the Doxology.
It will help us slow down to a stop, instead of just slamming on the breaks
It will help our hearts and our minds get in the right place where we can absorb the Scriptures we just learned about
Our Digital Bible Study will be starting on Tuesday January 26th at 630pm.
It will be on Zoom, and when the time gets closer, ill make sure everyone gets the necessary info for logging on and joining and everything else.
We’ll be talking about the 5 points of Calvinism - using the acronym T.U.L.I.P.
So if you want to know more, the Bible Study starts on Tuesday January 26th at 630pm
In the last pew there are a bunch of Baby Bottles
Fill with change for CareNET in Newark
They're raising money to help with their mission of helping the mothers and fathers and families of unborn children
Last announcement, is that NEXT Sunday, the 17th, after Service, we will be having our Annual Business Meeting.
We’ll be talking about the past year, even though because of COVID not much happened
And we’ll be talking about next year and the changes that will be coming.
We’ll also be having some pizza to bribe you to stay
With that the kids are dismissed.
I know last week we got into Verse 2 of Ephesians 1, but were going to backtrack a little into Verse 1 again. And we’ll probably be there next week too.
Today, were going to focus on who it is Paul is addressing this letter to ----
And next week we’ll be looking at what it means when Paul says “...by the will of God.”
Ephesians 1:1 - (ESV)
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
...to the saints who are in Ephesus
This is not the saints who go marching in -----
This is not the saints who get their pictures painted and hung on necklaces and rings and put on Church walls ----- as if they had some kind of an effect on the way that this world exists.
There are no patron saints of pastries, countries, skinned knees or lost causes
There are no patron saints
This is not the Christians who have lived and died before us, that some people ignorantly and sinfully pray to -----
These are not some sect of super holy people, who do miracles and are extra nice and extra polite and extra ------- christian.
When Paul addresses his letter to the Saints ----- he is addressing it to all Christians.
It’s like this, because all Christians are Saints.
All of us /// Me /// You --
The stranger in a church in the next town --
Or the next country
The Christians who lived in 1st Century ---
And the Christians who live now ---
Anyone who has repented of their sins and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and now have the Holy Spirit living intertwined with their soul ----- are Saints
It’s like that, because of what happens when we are saved.
God doesn’t just change someone’s mind and now they are thinking correctly ---
He doesnt just dust us off and give us a pat on the head ---
He breathes life into our dead souls and make us altogether new
2nd Corinthians 5:17 says this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Galatians 2:20 says this: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
God has taken your old life ----
Your sins /// Your mistakes /// Your mess ups --
Your evil actions, no matter how dark or dangerous they were --
And has forgiven them.
Not because it was just some really nice thing for Him to do ---
But because the penalty that your sins deserve, was laid upon the body of His Son.
So that who ever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life.
Not because they were really good or extra holy
But because Jesus Christ is God, and He died the death that we deserve.
Justice for your sins was carried out, and forgiveness is available
You are forgiven
From lust // selfishness // anger // abuse // substances // immorality // from laziness // from self righteousness //
There is no sin so bad ---- no act so vile ---- no deed so dark or crime so immoral ----- that God will say you are tooooo far gone.
SO then does that mean that if Hitler or Jeffrey Epstein repented ---- that God would forgive them????
Because our forgiveness is based on how powerful the blood of Christ is, not on how bad our actions were.
And it’s not as if those actions of our past or present just get swept under the rug ----
God punishes them - He deals out perfect and divine wrath upon all wickedness ----- and if you repent - that wrath will have been poured out upon the back of his Son
When God forgives you - it is because Jesus took your punishment ----- and you are made new
And not only that --- but you are someone else altogether.
You aren’t you ----- but just new
You are someone new entirely.
You are the true YOU
Who you are made to be ---- can only be realized through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The more you know Him, the more you'll see who you were made to be ----
And that is ----- a Saint.
When God looks over the edge of heaven, and His divine eyes rest upon you in your day to day life -----
He does not see your faults and foils ---
He sees the blood of His Son
He sees a saint
If God lives within your heart - then He has made you a Saint.
Well thats all well and good right ------ but what does it mean?
What is a saint?
Is it just another word for Christian?
The answer…..is kind of.
You see we get the word “Saint” from the Greek word “Hageos” which means =
Set apart or sacred
Consecrated for a specific use by God
This is the same word that gets translated as “holy”
Did you hear that - the same Greek word used to describe someone within whom the Holy Spirit dwells, is also used to mean “Holy” - thats going to come into play later, so hold on to that.
You see, when God saved you, He didnt just all willy nilly --- without thought --- reach into Earth and blindly grope around for someone to save -----
There was a plan in saving you ---
There was purpose ---
When God saved you ---- He set you apart from everyone else, to do something for Him.
He consecrated your life for a special purpose
For those of you who dont know, I was a Chef for about 10years before God put on the path that led here.
And part of my job as being a Chef, was to clean and cut pieces of meat
I had to take a tenderloin, full of fat and tendons and cut all the useless stuff off ---- until the only thing that remained was perfect and desirable filet mignon.
I had to cut and slice the meat, setting some of it apart for a special purpose.
You - fellow Christian, have been cut off from the dead and useless ways of your past -----
---- Cut off from the dead and useless ways of this world ----
And have been set apart for a special purpose.
To be used by God for something glorious
Something beyond the filth and garbage of this world that oozes into our hearts everytime we turn on the news
God has plan for YOUR life --- YOU --- individually ---- will be used by God for something special and amazing
You see, we as are called to let everything in our life, reflect the light of God. Everything.
How we interact with strangers
How we interact with family and friends
How we raise our kids
How we treat our parents
The movies we watch
The books we read
The music we listen to it
The clothes we wear
How we do Church
How we talk to others about God - Actually talking to others about God
Everything about who we are as a person - must reflect the light and love of God onto everyone in our life.
1st Peter 1:13-16 says this:
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Be holy---- be a saint ----- its the same word
When God saved us ---
And made us new ---
When God made us into Saints ---
We are to leave behind the foolish and arrogant ways in which we used to live.
Yes we make mistakes
Yes we mess up
Yes we do things we know we shouldnt, over and over again, only to cry our eyes out over our mistakes and ask God for more forgiveness than we deserve-----and He gives it to us.
Being a Saint doesn’t mean that we live perfect lives ----- it means we acknowledge our brokenness and confess in God’s goodness.
We are blood bought sinning saints, falling on our face in our mistakes, and falling on our knees in prayer - daily acknowledging that we need God in our life.
You see that is what we are set apart for ---
That is our purpose ---
That is God’s plan for our lives ---
That we will not only live how we are supposed to, but that when we fall ---- and fall we will ---- but that when we fall, we look to Him for forgiveness.
You see, not only do our intentional and with forethought actions that we live out because of what Scripture teaches--- show people what God is like ----
They can also see what kind of God He is in our FAILURES
When we fail --- the world will see a God who forgives
When we mess up --- the world will see a God of 2nd Chances
When we live our lives in rebellion --- but then seemingly out of nowhere, we become Missionaries and Worship Leaders and Pastors ------ the unbelievers in our life will be able to see that God can use ANYONE
God uses our successes and God uses our failures.
However, like I said last week, that is not an excuse to go an intentionally act stupid and claim that God is going to use it.
We are image bearers of God ---- called to wade through the dark jungles of this world, carrying His light everywhere we go.
When our families fall apart - we point them to God
In our actions and behavior
And in our willingness to admit were wrong and let His forgiveness point them to him
When our jobs sputter and die
We keep our eyes on Jesus and let everyone in our life see that those who are in God, though they may struggle and suffer, have a hope that exists beyond this world
When our Nations rage and civil unrest dominates the news---
When police stations are burned to the ground ---
When government buildings are breached and occupied ---
When the ruler we have elected --- who were supposed to punish evil doers and protect the innocent ----- instead lift themselves over us to be worshiped as God----
We humbly and patiently continue to model everything in our life after Christ, and let everyone around us know that God has the whole world in the palm of His hands.
We are Saints ---- because we are set apart to do the work of the Lord
To protect the innocent
To give voice to the voiceless
To help the helpless
To topple dictators
To worship and volunteer and give and lay our lives down
To proclaim the truths of Scripture out loud for all to hear
And to live the truths of Scripture for all to see
God has set us apart from the rest of the world, so that the rest of the world can look at us and be drawn to Him
In closing --- there is one more aspect that we need to understand when it comes to all Christians being Saints.
That word - “hageos” - is translated as saint over 60 different times in the New Testament ----
And every single time it is used --- it is in the plural or referencing a plurality
You see -- when God saved you, He it wasnt so you could just go on your merry way - even if you are representing Him in your life.
We were saved into a family ---- a larger body that we all fit into ----
Later on in Ephesians we’ll see that we were adopted into His family.
And God didnt adopt us so that we could just live alone and never be a part of the family of His family and what His family is doing.
We cant be the body of Christ --- when we refuse to gather as the body of Christ
Living life together
Arguing and growing and changing and helping and loving ------ together
---is what it means to be a Christian
---is what it means to be a Saint
When God saved you --- He adopted you into His family with all of your siblings.
He didnt adopt you to go live alone
Never meeting together with your family
Never fellowshipping together
Never worshipping together
Never telling your family “hey man I need help in this area, or I need help in that area”
He didnt adopt us into His family so that we could ignore the sharpening effect that happens to Christian hearts and minds whenever disagreements come up
He adopted us into a family - all of us Saints - that regularly spend their lives together
That is the overall theme of Ephesians - that we are the Church - and it is here in the Church, as members of a Church, where we can display God exponentially better than we could on our own.
The Church is not a building - it is a people.
1st Peter 2:9-10 says this:
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
But if those people dont work together, growing and changing together, each of them living into their individual destiny alongside one another ---- then how can ever display God to a lost and broken world.
We need each other ---
Because all of us have gifts that others don’t -
All of us can contribute in ways that others cant--
God adopted each of us into His larger family of Christians throughout time ---
And He adopted us here this morning ---- into Christ Community
It is no coincidence that we all go to this Church--
That we come here to worship and hear from God
That we give here
Pray here -- Learn here --
God placed each of us, within these pews, knowing our gifts---
Knowing our strengths
Knowing our weaknesses
Knowing how hard or how easy it would be for us to work together
And when we all come together, despite our differences, all of us carrying the same message ---- of the same God ----
None of us acting like we are some holier than thou super Christian - but instead admitting our faults and failures to one another---
And then praying for one another and helping them up when they fall---
All of us living into the gifts and abilities that God created us with --- and then relying on our brothers and sisters in the pews beside us, to be there in our weaknesses---
When we as a Church live our lives individually and corporately --- like the Saints that we truly are ----
Then the unbelieving world that is hurting for a savior, will have the opportunity to see God through us.
( → → Doxology ← ← )
“Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )